Chapter 21 : Back in Black
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Before we move onto the story, we have one minor thing to clear up. We do know that Peter is OOC. Although we try to comply with canon most of the time, we might purposely go against canon a little bit here and there for comic relief. We’re sorry to anyone who is disappointed with Peter's characterization.
Disclaimer: Same as always. Canon characters belong to the brilliant Joanne Kathleen Rowling. As for the icon… it just doesn’t belong to us. We don’t know who made it, but if you know, please tell us so we can credit them.
I looked at my spotless room in a familiar disbelief. (The only real time that this happens is the day I leave for Hogwarts.) My posters were all off the walls and my desk was empty of my art supplies. My Quidditch gear was packed away along with my clothes, leaving my floor bare of debris.
I sighed and picked up my wand.
Back to school and homework and hard lessons and long Quidditch practices. Back to friends and legal magic and my teammates and walks by the lake and breaking rules and sneaking out and pranks and…and…seeing Sirius every day.
I hadn’t left my packing to the last minute as I do normally; I got it done days before.
I placed the wand in the inside pocket of my sweatshirt. I glanced at the mirror before pulling on my cap and slinging on my messenger bag. I put my thumb and my index finger in my mouth and whistled loudly.
My barn owl Strix flew in. Rion gave him to me as a sort of going away present. I nuzzled his beak a little before putting him in his cage.
About a moment later Mum began calling me and my luggage began to fly down the stairs. I myself flew down the stairs with Strix’s cage in hand. Rion had returned to America a few days before so it was only Mum and Dad. We walked out to the curb where the bus was waiting and entered. Zevin wasn’t there. (Thank God.) We rode to King’s Cross and stood near platforms nine and ten.
“Bye Honey, we’ll miss you.” Mum hugged me tightly.
“See you in December,” Dad added.
We said our I-love-yous and I went through the barrier to platform 9 ¾. Suddenly I was stifled by a hug. I inhaled and realized who it was.
“It’s only been a week.”
Sirius has been acting different lately. Not in a bad way, but he has been acting more affectionate. He let me go and accidentally knocked the cap of my head. He stared at my hair for a moment.
“Dark, I know.”
That was a bit of an understatement. It was, in all honesty, a slight shade browner than his hair, but for the most part the same color. It was also a bit shorter with a shaggier cut and blonde streaks in the fringe. He shook off his shock and smirked.
“Copy cat,” he said, ruffling my hair.
He then picked up my newsboy cap. I snatched it out of his hands and swiftly put it back on my head. I stuck out my tongue.
“You better go find James before he has a heart attack.”
“If I have to.” Sirius had a tone of mock disappointment.
I gave him a push. “Go on, get!” I laughed.
As he left I was pulled by the arm towards the train. I looked to see that Alice and Kimberly were the ones pulling.
“You’re sitting with us!” Alice said triumphantly.
“But Sam and Alex—“
I suddenly saw them boarding the train with Zevin. “Never mind, I’ll sit with you.”
“Saw Zevin did you?” Kimby laughed.
They led me on to the train and an already full compartment.
“Er… Is there room?”
I think all of the Gryffindor sixth year girls were in there (plus Tanya).
“Oh I’m sure there’s room.” Alice sounded determined.
I stared at all of the girls. On one side was Kimberly (who had just sat down), Tanya, Brittney, and all of their things. On the other was Lily, an empty place for Alice, Sarai, and all of their stuff.
“I don’t think there is either,” Kimberly commented after surveying the room.
“Well then, I’ll…I’ll…sit on the floor!”
Then promptly, Alice sat in the space between everyone’s legs.
“Alice, I think that goes against safety regulations…” Tanya piped up.
“Does it look like I care?” Alice said in a bubbly voice.
“No,” Tanya said in a grumpy tone.
So I sat. At first, we talked about Strix and how I got him.
“So your brother gave him to you?” Kimberly asked as she pet his beak.
“Your brother?” Brittney sighed, loosing herself in what appeared to be daydreams about my brother. “Gods he’s gorgeous.”
“ANYway,” Sarai began. “Who else is concerned about Laura’s hair?” She pulled off my cap for effect.
Wait a sec, before we go on.
I remember that you guys havened heard about Sarai yet. Sarai is a Gryffindor in my year and good friend of mine. She’s Indian and about a foot shorter than me. She has dark brown hair and large brown eyes an a little mole under the left one that I’m really jealous of. She's got a trademark smirk that rivals my own and a dramatic and sarcastic attitude.
“I am,” Lily said as she picked up a bit of it for inspection.
“Me too,” Tanya added.
“Why what’s wrong with it?” I asked innocently.
“It’s black, Laura. As in Sirius Black,” Brittney said with raised eyebrows.
“Its dark brown!” I defended fruitlessly.
“Seriously Laura. I know you love the guy, but you don’t have to match him,” Kimberly said with a teasing grin.
“Yeah, what’s next? His and her towels?” Alice giggled.
“Alright, alright. Can we lay off my hair?” I said grumpily putting on my hat.
“So, any new developments with old tall, dark-haired, and handsome over the holidays?” Alice asked as if it were changing the subject entirely.
“Well he has gotten a bit more affectionate but I—“
“A bit?” Tanya scoffed. “That’s the understatement of the year.”
“They spent almost every day together. He floo called all the time, he’d buy her dinner, and he’d practically molest her every time she left or arrived…”
“Molest? Now that’s an overstatement,” I said as I rolled my eyes.
“So what did Potter think about all of this?” Lily said his name as if it tasted bad in her mouth.
“Oh, I dunno. He was there half the time so I guess he didn’t mind so much. Sirius lives at his house now after all.”
“So you’ve been to his house then?” Lily had suddenly taken more interest.
“Why, you want to know what his bed looks like?” I smirked at her.
“NO! I hate him. And also: ew.”
“Oh come now Lily. We all know that you secretly want to get in Potter’s pants,” Sarai teased. We all nodded in mock agreement.
“What about you, Sarai. I hear you have it bad for Sam!” Lily shot back in thorny defense.
Sarai’s mouth was agape; she wore an indignant look.
“Do mine ears deceive me?” I said in a curious tone, “Sarai has it bad for Sam?”
Sarai shifted in her seat.
“Surely it is not my Sam whom Lily speaks of?”
“Oh, but it is!” Alice giggled again.
“I just think he’s hot. That’s all!” Sarai exclaimed.
“Riiiiiiiight,” we all chimed.
“What about Tanya and Remus?” Sarai was desperately trying to change the subject.
“What about them?” Brittney asked.
“Erm... I’ve got nothing.”
“Well you can’t deny it. You have it bad for—“
And as if on cue, Sam opened the compartment door.
“Speak of the devil,” Sarai murmured.
“Oi, Laura. You can’t just avoid us because Zevin is sitting with us.”
“Aw, but Sammy.” I gave him a pout. “I dun like him!” I said in a voice reminiscent of a 5 year old.
“Too bad,” he said in mock-disciplinary tone. “And don’t call me Sammy.” He grabbed my hand.
“Get your things. We’re going.”
“Awwww okay.” I waved my wand and wingardiumed my stuff.
“Say bye to your friends,” Sam said, continuing the parent-naughty-child charade.
“Bywwe!” I said and we walked out. I heard them all laugh when after we shut the door.
“You came to collect me? How James of you.” I elbowed him in the ribs.
“Zevin wouldn’t shut up about it, and Alex wanted you too.”
“But not you?”
“’Course not. You know that I secretly disdain you.”
The Hogwarts Express slowed to a stop.
The clatter of feet and luggage could be heard from outside our compartment and a soft clunk informed us that someone had just fallen down near our door. More than likely, a Slytherin had just tripped an unsuspecting first year.
We’ve learned that it’s best to stay inside our compartment for a couple of minutes after the train stops. That way, we don’t have to worry about maneuvering through the crowd. That also depletes the possibility of being hit by someone’s luggage. Or accidentally stepping on one of the firsties.
When the noise from the aisle died down, we sat up, grabbed our luggage, and headed out of the train. About half of the carriages had left by that time and most of the remaining carriages were full and ready to leave. But Alice immediately spotted an open carriage and led us all toward it.
“Come on, Tanya. Get in the carriage!” Kimberly called from inside.
“Actually, I think I’m going to go and find Laura’s carriage.”
“Okay,” said Lily. “But you might need to hurry because they’re all about to leave.”
I waved and ran between the remaining carriages, looking for Laura, Sam, or Alex and keeping my gaze away from the thestrals.
Then I stopped. Zevin was with them. I would really rather not ride with Zevin.
Realizing that I should have just stayed in the carriage with the Gryffindor girls, I turned around and ran back toward their carriage. But it had already left.
Well. Laura, Alex, Sam… and Zevin it is then.
Or I could go with the Marauders.
As soon as I had turned around again, I saw Remus and Potter stepping into their carriage. I walked up to them.
“Would I be able to come in this carriage? Everyone else has already left.”
Sirius and Remus responded with a “yes” and Potter responded with a “whatever”.
I stepped into the carriage and sat between Remus and Sirius.
“Hi Tanya!” Peter said, waving at me.
“So,” Potter began as soon as the carriage began to roll toward Hogwarts. “Think the first years will be any good this year?”
Sirius’ eyes lit up. “Are you talking about what I think you’re talking about?”
“Why yes I am, Padfoot.”
I looked from Potter to Sirius to Remus to Peter and back to Potter. “What are you talking about?”
Potter rolled his eyes. “Quidditch! What else would I be talking about?”
I slouched down a bit in my seat.
“We need a new beater,” Potter continued.
“And a new chaser,” Sirius cut in.
“Yeah, but I already have someone in mind for the position of chaser. But a beater… I was watching tryouts last year and there’s no way anyone else already in Gryffindor would make a decent beater.”
Despite the fact that my dad invented the Nimbus… I really know nothing about Quidditch. So, I resorted to playing with the lock on my suitcase.
Potter, noticing my boredom, looked at me. “Well, maybe we should talk about something else. I mean, to be courteous to Tanya.”
I was momentarily stunned. Is this the same Potter I think it it?
“Because she obviously doesn’t enjoy taking part in these Quidditch related discussions. She probably doesn’t even fully understand them. But what I’d like to know is… how thick do you have to be to not understand Quidditch! How uncultured do you have to be to not understand the fine art that is Quidditch! For the love of Merlin!”
Remus looked at me apologetically, then turned to Potter. “It’s okay Prongs. Calm down.”
“I am calm,” he responded, crossing his arms. “And that is why we are changing the discussion to something that Tanya can take part in. Like Evans!”
I rolled my eyes this time. Potter either didn’t notice, or ignored it.
“Well this is the year that I’m finally going to get her.”
“Er… mate? Isn’t that what you said last year?” Sirius asked.
“But that’s different!”
“I believe in you, Prongs,” said Peter, his face shining with admiration.
“Why thank you, Wormtail.”
After we arrived at the front doors, I hopped out of the carriage and walked off to find Laura. I crossed the entrance hall and went into the Great Hall. Laura was already sitting at the Ravenclaw table with Sam, Alex, and Zevin.
“Hey,” I said, sitting down.
“Hey,” she returned. “How’d you end up getting here? I saw the Gryffindor girls and you weren’t with them.”
“I’ll explain in a second. I think the sorting is about to start.”
The first years were being lead into the Great Hall in a line. As usual, they were all shaking or fidgeting nervously. They advanced toward the Sorting Hat, which began its song. Everyone stopped and listened.
Dear all students, old and new
Listen, for I’ve a tale for you
Many, many years before
The founders knew what was in store
A dream growing between the four
So goes the modern folklore
Each of them of famed name
With ambition each the same
To make a school of magic and
Hide from Muggle eyes, they planned
An idea most impossible
And rather unattainable
Unless one is as talented
As those bold enough to go ahead
Rowena Ravenclaw and Godric
Gryffindor, to be specific
Slytherin and Hufflepuff
Weathered the terrible and tough
And so the school was opened up
In memory of those bright and brave
In thanks for the way they paved
Four houses were dedicated
To the exceptional four that created
Of the Hogwarts houses you will find
Ravenclaw is quick of mind
Intelligent and studious
While Slytherin is devious
Wily, cunning, and resourceful
But Hufflepuff is loyal
Trustworthy and faithful
And Gryffindor is noble
Fiery, gallant, and lastly, brave
Those are the houses that they gave
And now it’s time that you are told
Them that are shy or that are bold
It really does not matter
If you’re the former or the latter
The witty and the dull
Them that are strong and that are weak
For I am the original
Hogwarts house sorter that you seek
Everyone clapped, and the sorting commenced with “Baird, Andy” being sorted into Hufflepuff. Next, “Brooks, Mandisa” was sorted into Slytherin.
After “Hurley, Charlene” was sorted into Ravenclaw, Laura asked, “So, how did you get here?”
“I came with Remus, Sirius, Potter, and Peter.”
“That must’ve been interesting.”
“Did James behave?”
“Potter thinks he’s going to get with Lily this year.”
“From what Sirius has told me, that’s what he always thinks.”
“Do you think you’re going to get with Sirius this year?”
She sighed. “I would like to say yes.”
I hesitated. “Do you think I’m going to get with Remus this year?”
“No. Never.” She smirked. “I’m just kidding Tanya.”
After “Van Aken, Trent” was sorted into Slytherin, Dumbledore gave his beginning of term speech, and we dug in to the feast.
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